Monday 1 December 2014

Tis my season

to be a grumpy old woman. I genuinely love Christmas but Christ on a bike, do I yearn for the day when Christmas can be done how I would like to do it.

Where I can have a real tree and  not the tree of the glorious childhood days, which cannot be changed, not even one bloomin ornament, it has to be the same tree and decorations we have had for 22 years now. I would like to change the colour of the ornaments, I have wanted to change them for many years. It causes my 2 younger children unhappiness to have a change so I persist in the same gold theme. I can't wait for the day when either The Beautiful Son or Beautiful Baby Daughter have their own house and I can bequeath them the tree of the glorious childhood and I can be shot of the damn thing. God forbid, I should go mad and have a real tree and a non gold theme. The world would most probably end.

Where I can eat what I like and when I like it, champagne and toblerones mainly.

When I don't have to shop for thoughtful presents & wrap them beautifully. Even since my children were small, my parents have opted out of Xmas shopping by giving me cash and getting me to buy thoughtful gifts for their grandchildren, so they're retired and have tons of free time, I am working and doing everyone else's presents, Aunties have also adopted this tactic by citing the "oh as you live so far away, posting things is so difficult, let me give you the cash and you buy and wrap, so the children get a good present" argument. It sucks big time, when do I get to bung £20 in a card and be done with it?

 When I don't spend most of December buying enough food to feed a small African nation and enough wine to keep Bacchus happy, having grown up children has added a not inconsiderable amount of how much it costs to have them home for Christmas. Add to that, the constant cooking (okay, heating up) for them too. And add in parents who eat meat & 2 veg every day, we are almost exclusively vegetarian, a plate of pasta wouldn't be something they would eat. My mum in particular can't cope with any kind of flavour.  I am looking forward to the 12 days of parents mightily, can you tell? Gaah.

When I don't have to provide Christmas stockings with each thing individually wrapped in different paper to the paper we wrap the presents under the tree in (as Santa wouldn't have the same paper as me), where I don't have to leave Santa and the reindeers a snack and make a glitter footprint and hoof print on the hall carpet. For the love of God, you are nearly 23, 19 and a half and 18 now. Apparently I can stop the stockings when they are parents themselves. Enough already.

When I could be abroad, somewhere warm. Again, the world would end if I wasn't at home during the festivities, I have to be here as I have to make the Christmas magic happen.

I yearn for a festive season, which took up a day of my time in prep max and a relaxed Christmas day, maybe just me and my lovely husband relaxing, eating, drinking and looking at a real tree that isn't festooned in gold.

Wednesday 5 November 2014


30 years ago today I became a student nurse. Sweet baby cheezus, where did those 30 years go? (mainly working, having children and getting married) In the last 30 years, I have mainly worked as a nurse or as a teacher, I now work for a medical charity and I spend a good amount of time now in universities teaching student nurses. I feel nicely full circley about that.

The NHS now seems very different from the NHS I worked in. I haven't had to use it much personally, only hospital admissions have been to have my babies so I feel very fortunate in my rude health.  I like to know it's there for me if I need it. Indulge me in my moment of warm fuzzies for the NHS, because we don't always appreciate what we have, until it's gone.

Monday 27 October 2014

And when you thought it couldn't get worse...

Take your pick, let me know what you think is the worst, answers or shares of your own in the comments please

A - Someone who I  met a few years ago said in a cheery tone "the last girl who did your job was Scottish too" and when I reassured them that it was actually me they were quite disbelieving and said "Oh no, she was a little slim thing, you're at least twice her size"
I am now on the 5 - 2 diet, I started today, it's a 500 calorie day and I am quite tetchy, I expect I will have to go to bed early, in the interests of family harmony.

B - My parents are coming for Christmas, they are staying for 12 days. I don't like anyone if I have to spend 12 days in close proximity to them whilst having to be a cheery hostess. I am also having to miss my wedding anniversary trip up North to stay at the hotel we got married in and am missing spending New Year with my friend Lou in Edinburgh. No one should visit you for 12 days when you have to look after them.  NO ONE (in capitals for emphasis)

C - The Beautiful Son is working in Edinburgh on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, he will be getting squillions of cash for it but he won't be with me, I shall miss him muchly. I am also sad that he will be waking up on Christmas morning on his own, unless he gets lucky on Christmas Eve. I expect there are some girls left in Edinburgh who he hasn't met yet.

D - My job that I luff is going as part of a restructure, I will be able to apply for one of the new jobs but they aren't my job, that I luff. Did I mention that I luff my job?

That's plenty isn't it, there's more but who needs to read my whiney whiney poor me's.

Sunday 12 October 2014

In which I am wrong again, naturally....

I am always wrong with  Beautiful Baby Daughter, my youngest child, no matter what I do or say, it's wrong. Everything I do annoys the bejaysus out of her. Especially breathing, and I do that a lot.

It's tiring. The being wrong, not the breathing, I can do that just fine, nae bother to yer auntie.
For the last little while, we have found a modus operandi, she comes home to sleep and shout at me. When I say shout, it's not usually full fat cross shouty shreikery but it's fairly hissy and unpleasant. I accept that I am her emotional punchbag and my husband leaves the room before he loses his ability to hold his tongue.

This week, I have been in trouble for

1 - Thinking I'm funny, it's one of my less endearing habits but I upset herself as when she was mid rant about her A level English language coursework (she has to watch "Celebrity Masterchef") I once again was showing off and remarked to my husband "Who says A levels are getting harder?" To which she went up like a rocket about how I think her choices of A level are too easy. AT NO POINT EVER - (in capitals for emphasis) have I ever complained about ANY of my 3's choices of A levels or degrees, I am never anything other than pleased that they are in school and not jail.

2 - The train being late - making her late for school. This is my fault because I moved to Alaska and I have not bought her a motorbike. She has no motorbike as the money I had for said bike was spent on her £900 plane ticket and spending money for her 3 week holiday with her boyfriend to his dad in America. To be fair, I only paid half,  her dad stumped up the rest but clearly I am channelling my inner BBD and the omnipresent "poor me, my life is poo"

3 - My failure to provide a full and efficient laundry service -  (she will be 18 next week, in the interests of clarity). I am presently working full time and am hindered by a north facing garden, the general weather and an innate distrust of not drying your washing outside, I have used my tumble drier about 6 times in a decade. I know, shoddy service, I'm just making excuses.

4 - My failure to provide more than 6 pairs of pants that fit properly - maybe that should be 3a, they were part of the laundry whine.

5 - Not paying enough attention when she speaks to me -  This is because when she arrived home, I was trying to find out where my kindle book had disappeared to after I had bought it, still haven't got it, I was being technologically challenged and I didn't provide her Majesty with the audience she required, I had the audacity to be too involved with my laptop.

6 - The fact that her laptop is broken - it has been broken for yonks, I have given her my laptop, the charger broke, I gave her money for a new charger - she refutes this, she insists the money was for a charger for her laptop and she bought that and it still didn't work, she uses my appalling memory of what I have handed cash over for as an absolute certainty that she is right.
 When I play my " I can't fund everything and you have had 2 holidays to the States plus spending money plus new clothes plus insurances plus visas plus toiletries plus new hair cuts etc etc etc she retorts with " well, if I'd have known it was a choice between something I needed for my education and a holiday, of course I would have chosen anew laptop.
AYE RIGHT - that should be imagined in as Glaswegian accent as you have ever heard. Also this morning when we had gone a few rounds of the laptop saga I eventually caved from my very reasonable, "I know you're stressed with school, exams and writing your personal statement and I know you're not specifically peed off with me but I am one of the few safe people you can offload to"  I eventually cracked and said " Lucy, we will get you a new sodding laptop" She exploded and told me to not to take that tone with her and flounced off, swearing at me as she left.

Some days it's hard to not feel nostalgic for my last baby, who was and is still so loved,  the snuggly toddler who loved me so much and the small girl who made me certificates saying I was the best Mummy in the world and all the little love letters she sent.

And the days where I was always right and didn't have to justify my choices every single day.

Friday 5 September 2014


Yesterday I received a letter inviting me for breast screening. Jings, crivens and help my boab (the husband and I have given up swearing, it's going quite well but I did slip when I had my legs waxed)  Had I  turned 50 but was too busy to notice?. Apparently not, they are extending the screening age to 47. I'm pleased about that, I expect the excitement of being able to go on Saga holidays and breast screening would have been way too much for me in the same year.

Monday 11 August 2014


I will be 48, I can hardly believe it! It's uplifting to still be sane ish and have my body still doing what I request of it and slightly depressing to be looking older and more tired.
Bah! I am alive

I have had a weird month with some fab highlights, spending time with great new friends and time with my beloved Lou, who has been my friend for decades.

 Sad stuff with my mum's decline.

 Good stuff because I have seen my beautiful son and scary stuff when I hear of his exploits.

Weird stuff with my stepson, it's quite frankly all batshit crazy over there, always.

Good and bad stuff with work,  very sad stuff with a death. Properly shaken me up stuff.

Odd stuff as my youngest daughter has been away for 3 weeks, most peculiar to be without her.

Good stuff as my older daughter is flying back from Germany to spend my birthday with me.

Exciting stuff with a big change in work/life balance. Cryptic non?

Feeling guilty for being a bad friend stuff as wanting to text Note Bene to tell him Glasgow City Council were flying the Palestinian flag and guilt as I don't have his number any more.

Missing Libs stuff, been far too long, missus, we need to see you and the mister.

I shall be back soon, I have a blog and I miss writing in it. I am going to try and blog more often, I miss you.

Friday 11 July 2014

Things I would really like to say

To the guests who are 1 week in of a 2 week stay in our villa.
Please go home now, it will save me a fortune. In 1 week, you have called our property management agents out 4 times. We have bought an extra 6 pillows for your comfort, replaced the hob and have been out twice to repair the air con units you have burnt out as you have left every feckin unit on for every feckin hour of the day. We wouldn't mind but each time the agent or the repair man has shown up, you are outside with the air con on indoors. I am dreading my electricity bill. Feck off home, it has cost me more to have you there than you gave me in the first place.

To my youngest child
We live in Market Harborough, not Alaska, it's not that bad. Also, if you want a £900 plane ticket bought so you can spend 3 weeks in America this summer, plus your spending money, I won't have enough to also buy you a motor bike so you can get the hell out of Dodge  (sorry Market Harborough) and also the maintenance money your dad gives me for you is not meant to be spend penny for penny on your clothes and entertainment. It also has to cover the roof over your head, food, travel, toiletries, the council tax, the gas bill, the electric bill, phone, broadband, water and all of life's other luxuries. Quit your whining.

To my next door but one neighbours
There are 2 reason that most people are unfamiliar with the whole of Dolly Parton's back catalogue, one is taste and the other? we call them ears. Mine work okay, from two doors down with the windows closed, I work from home, when chatting to a consultant neurosurgeon on the phone, when I am trying to use my two bob words and impress him, the full pelt Dolly isn't helping my "take me seriously so I can earn enough to pay for villa guests and children's plane fares, never mind a Mulberry handbag"

My beloved husband's ex partner
Your behaviour is quite unbelievable and hugely unacceptable. The person who will be most hurt by it is your son. Wise the fuck up, he won't be 8 forever, he will soon know that you are way out of line.

My beloved husband's ex partners new partner
You are beneath contempt. You should also, wise the fuck up, because again, he won't be 8 forever. One day he might have to choose your care home and I hope he chooses one that has the same ridiculous rules for you as you have for him. Think on.

Rantie auntie wine fulled rant now over

Friday 20 June 2014

mumsnet, I love thee, let me count the cost

I have spoken before of my deep love of mumsnet. I am still enamoured. I suspect the shine is going off it for mr auntiegwen aka mr adventures, although I don't think he can really claim to be mr adventures any more such is the pitiful amount of blogging ie none of late.

I am an ad man's dream. I am hugely suggestible. So if someone takes the time and trouble to log on and spout about how good something is, I am going to believe them.

To date I have bought on a mumsnet recommendation,

Sainsbury's luxury leggings  - best quality, last for ages, wash well
Branch 309 - ex display shoes form office and schuh -  we have bought 5 pairs from here, very good for cheap UGG boots, EBD got a fab £29 pair and I even persuaded my dad into the UGG slippers, which he loves
Lanacane ani chaffe gel - stop sniggering, it's apparently the same formula that Smashbox use in their make up primer and it is 1/3 of the price
Longchamp - La Pliage large shopper, fab bag and will take loads of work files plus all the assorted staff I need all day every day to survive
Tresseme 7 day keratin shampoo & conditioner - I have very soft and straight hair now

Yesterday I succumbed to Alpha H skin care - apparently it's brilliant for cleaning out your pores. I shall report back and let you all know. don't worry not with before and after pictures, I'm not that unkind.
I'm sure it's just displacement as I haven't bought the handbag despite the 30% off in the sale.

Today I am trying desperately not to buy a Morphy Richards 9 in 1 steam cleaner - they are the dog's apparently. I feel that getting excited about household appliances rather put me in the Per Una category.

Today I am going to stick to Am I being unreasonable, it's cheaper than chat & style & beauty. Say hi to wifeandmotherandlotsofother if you see me.

Sunday 15 June 2014

I heart MH

Have I mentioned how much I love living in Market Harborough this month? No? how remiss of me.

We have no cinema here, we were supposed to get one but there has been a community group and a business joint initiative thingy that has gone bodge and we aren't getting one. That is the short version.

Please don't feel sorry for us, no siree, we have a film club. Oh yes, Market Harborough has everything you could possible want. Our lovely film club meets in the local theatre, we have a big screen, tippy up seats and a bar. Take that Odeon.

We went on Friday and saw The Monuments Men. We had a drink in the bar, a lovely chat, a film we enjoyed and it was every bit as good as the cinema. All for a fiver each.


And the icing on the cake...

We were the youngest there by a good decade.

I love Market Harborough.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Welcome to the house of vom

We have a black cross on our front door. I am ringing my bell and crying out "unclean, unclean" We are a house of lurgy.  My stepson The Boy Wonder spent the weekend vomiting and sleeping, not to be outdone my husband has spent today vomiting and sleeping, He scared the beejeezus out of me as he recounted how he pulled into a lay by on the way home to barf and woke up 20 minutes later with the engine running and the handbrake off.

He's not even got life insurance.

My Eldest Beautiful Daughter and I were on Skype tonight and I was telling our tales of woe and sickness and she asked if I was more sympathetic to illness now, she loves to recount the phrases that were trotted out when she was pleading for a day off school. Before I was a teacher, I spent 15 years as a nurse, I probably wasn't sympathetic to pleas of illness.  Sympathy clearly was a shift time only concept. The ones she favours are

"Have you a limb hinging off? No , well get that uniform on"
"You're sick are you? Let me take you to the hospital, I work there, I'll show you what a sick person looks like"
"Put a plaster on it, it'll be fine. Stop your crying"

Then I became a teacher and still had no truck with school avoiding issues. Apparently EBD's upbringing has made her the strict teacher she is now.

And she is a VERY strict teacher.

Friday 6 June 2014

A Handbag

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lady in the middle years of her life, must be in want of a good handbag.

Or is that just me?

Maybe it's because you're never too fat for a handbag? It wouldn't matter which designer I chose or how much money I spent, I'm still going to look like a pig in a frock in most of them. Not even once has a handbag made me look chubby. And I am very old and have had a lot of handbags.

I am looking for the holy grail of handbags, I want something that will be big enough to carry all my stuff. I have a lot of stuff, I know from past experience if I leave any of the stuff out, I will need it and be peeved with myself all day for leaving it at home. I want it to look smart and business like ( because clearly I need all the help I can get with that one) I want it to say "Look here, you young things, I am a serious lady with a serious handbag, I may be getting old but with that I am gaining gravitas. And I have a lovely handbag"

 I have spent a fair bit of time on my handbag quest. I have even joined a handbag forum ( courtesy of mumsnet, of course, I can't do anything without mumsnet approval)  I have decided upon the handbag for me.

It is a lovely handbag.

It is a thing of beauty.

It is expensive.

Click HERE to see my object of my covety covetousness.

Oh I can do all the nice lady things justification maths, cost per wear blah blah blah, I know I will use it , I know it is good quality. I know I could sell it if I got bored and still get some money back.  But can I really spend that kind of money on a bag?

DISCLAIMER - if the nice PR people at Mulberry wish to send me a free handbag to play with, I will blog the live long day about them, I will stop people in the street and force them to admire the Bay, truly I will, there will not be anyone who knows, reads or has contact with me that will not hear the joys of Mulberry. Promotion has no impetus like a middle aged auntie with a free handbag.

I just cannot bring myself to hand my card over, it seems obscene just to pay the money. I really, really want this bag. My lovely husband has said he'd buy it for me  but I can't let him. I could take the money out of my wee nice lady things savings account but it seems like I haven't earned it, despite the fact that any money going into the account has been earned by me.

So I have come up with a cunning plan, in this plan I get to buy the handbag but I have to earn the handbag. I can't do any more hours at work so I have to give up something and then save the money for the bag. Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.

So, suggestions welcomed for what I can do that will leave me a spare £1000 ish in my account but won't get me arrested or divorced.

PS - I am completely aware of this being a #firstworldproblem, I am completely aware that people are starving and homeless and really struggling and I have the luxury of even thinking of buying a handbag. I know, I know... mea culpa

Tuesday 20 May 2014


 I have always had a fairly minimal house, perhaps because my family home  is so full you can only move  sideways in it and they think a surface without stuff and a wall without pictures is a complete waste of space. If you want to see what the Palace of Versailles would look like in a very ordinary Glasgow maisonette (or 4 in a block if you're one of us chosen people), you want to visit my mum & dad.
However in my middle years...
I find myself buying heart shaped things, all the feckin time, there can't be a room in my house without a heart shaped thing in it. To expand this hobby I have taken to buying heart shaped things for the villa, so not only am I imposing my lack of imagination on my nearest and dearest, I have now inflicted it on the good paying public who rent from me. Yesterday I spectacularly bought heart shaped things, in total, 3 pictures with hearts on, 2 cushions with hearts on, 1 metal hanging heart made with tiny bells ( I know), and no less than 8 hanging wicker hearts. I also bought bunting ala Kirsty Allsop but that's  a whole other story.

I have taken the buying of small bowls to an extreme art form also. We have a surfeit of small bowls, some are also heart shaped but it's not compulsory. I like bowls, I am particularly attracted to wee bowls. When you have crisps or nuts or snacky thinks it's so much nicer to have them from an attractive bowl.

Candles are also a particular passion, at present in my lounge, I have 25, some arranged in groups, some in bowls (you see, there is another purpose for a wee bowl) we have candles everywhere, inside and out. My husband who monitors our heating on a fancy graph, some Tado thingy that self regulates our heating so you don't have a timer any more (don't mock, Christ he needs something to occupy his mind, living with me) he can tell from his fancy graph when I have lit candles as the temperature increases. I am less impressed with the new fancy thing, I don't have the control thingy, he has one on his phone, if I get cold I have to light candles and put a cardie on or ring and ask him to switch the heating on. Still I have stuff and he has gadgets.

My house is filling up pretty quickly and my ever patient husband has learned not to ask what things are for, he just admires the heart shapes/wee bowls & candles and checks he is still a bloke, living in such a full house.

I am off to the beautiful house for a week, I am taking my husband, my stepson, my parents and several heart shaped things, some bowls and more candles with me. I will buy gin from the duty free and imbibe hourly from 11 to 11 as the combination of my mother telling me the same thing over and over and the boy wonder showing me how he jumps into the pool over and over will most certainly require a more relaxed (aka drunk) auntie to cope!!!

My starter for 10 was yesterday when I was chatting to my mum on the phone, she arrives tonight and I had said how nice it would be to see her. She replied that she was also looking forward to seeing me and then added "and your husband" As I am a very polite auntie, I said " Andrew is looking forward to seeing you too" She closed the conversation with, "Well, I don't know about that but I am looking forward to seeing your husband"

See you in June

Friday 9 May 2014

Normal service will resume shortly...

My blog has gone a bit bodge, that's a technical term obviously as you all know how fan dabby dozey I am with technology. I thought I'd lost a bit of it as there was a lot of white screen but if you go away down far enough some other stuff is there, I don't know how to fix it, clearly, so I shall cross my fingers, keep writing stuff and hope it repairs itself.

I am having a bit of a run of broken/lost/problematic things at the moment. Our hot water tank appears to be leaking, we found this out when a patch of water appeared on the ceiling of the room below. The auntiegwen approach is to wrap the leaky bit in flannels and keep drying them out however I am now married and married to the kind of person who likes, nay needs to fix things, yes dear readers I married an engineer, he has a full complement of tools and fixery things but the water tank is winning at the moment. There has been lots of draining of things and turning water off and turning it back on, we still leak and every time I was my hands the water comes out with a ferocity and viciousness previously only seen in a hormonal and exam stressed BBD. I get soaked every time. I am tired of this game now.

I have lost my fitbit which made me sad, tis a sort of posh pedometer and was a Christmas gift.

Work has needed lots of patience and I don't have that much spare as general life is taking most of mine.

But huzzah, tis Friday and I have a very nice bottle of wine in the fridge for tonight, we have pizza and gogglebox (which I love, love, love).

Not too shabby, have a good weekend everyone

Wednesday 7 May 2014

The 7 days of laundry

My youngest daughter continues to be a source of wonder to me. This is a photo of her bed.

Another view

 Tis fairly grim, is it not? So how can a child that messy be so clean in other ways? I do her laundry, I'm ace at laundry, it is really one of my best skills. And in 1 week, and I repeat for clarity, 1 week,  my child has worn (and I did count and then write it down so I didn't forget)

 11 pairs of pants, 9 pairs of tights, 8 pairs of leggings, 7 pairs of jeans, 7 bras (and you know how sorry I am that it wasn't 6 as I know some of you are singing along to the 12 days of Christmas)7 t shirts, 6 pairs of socks, 4 shirts, 2 dresses....

 and one skirt. 
My argument in days of yore was always that clothes should be hung up or put away like regular humans but as I am afeared of the BBD and even more afeared of the BBD during AS levels, I am just washing whatever is put in the basket, I am fairly certain that most weeks I am re washing clean clothes but as conversations with BBD scare the bejaysus out of me, I am letting dirty laundry get clean. If we have a brief 2 minute exchange of words and there is no eye rolling (her), deep or sharp intakes of breaths (me), slamming of doors (her), tears (either of us) I just count my blessings and go on my merry way. If she passes her a levels and goes to uni, we can tidy up and redecorate